Please keep this on your mind the next time you are in the voting booth!!!
We must be ever vigilant!
As Rachel Maddow called it:
Pay attention to what is actually happening in the House of Representatives. The rest is DIVERSION, at this point!
While we are all sidetracked by Trump/Pence and the NFL, Trump vs. Puerto Rico, Harvey Weinstein & the Sexual Predation of All Hollywood, the Russian Hacking of the election, or the MLB American League Division Playoffs this week, it’s worth noting that the following bills have been introduced in the House of Representatives:
1. HR 861 to Terminate the Environmental Protection Agency (Like to breathe? This one is not for you.)
2. HR 610 – Vouchers for Public Education (which may end free public education as we know it)
3. HR 899 to Terminate the Department of Education (which may lead to greater disparity between states but nobody who uses public education ever moves so it’s all good)
4. HR 69 to Repeal the Rule Protecting Wildlife (nobody likes nature anyway, right?)
5. HR 370 to Repeal the Affordable Care Act (didn’t we already try this umpteen times?)
6. HR 354 to De-fund Planned Parenthood (because exactly none of your tax dollars go toward abortion services)
7. HR 785 – National “Right to Work” (this one is actually a ‘Right to fire you whenever your boss feels like it” law, and it would effectively end unions)
8. HR 83 – Mobilizing Against Sanctuary Cities Bill (California should just secede now and take all its money)
9. HR 147 to Criminalize Abortion (“Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act”) (because these private decisions should be made by your legislator and employer)
10. HR 808 to Impose Sanctions Against Iran (even though they are in compliance with the agreement according to those in the know)
Please copy/paste and share widely!
The West Goshen Democrats are shocked and saddened by the two recent deaths in our community as a result of gun violence. The worst pain any family can face is to have a loved one murdered. Our deepest condolences go out to both the Roberson and Jennings families. We implore all residents of West Goshen to solve your problems without the use of violence.
Dear Trump Voter,
I am a Clinton voter and I attended the Women’s March on Washington. I have been thinking so much about the differences and similarities between Clinton voters and Trump voters. I have come to believe that we have many more similarities than differences. First of all, I am willing to bet that we agree with the slogan that James Carville popularized back in 1992, “It’s the Economy, Stupid”
I am also willing to bet that we agree with Bernie Sanders that the system is rigged against the little guy, in favor of the super wealthy and the corporations. I’ll bet that we agree that no American should live without healthcare, and live with the worry of going bankrupt if he or a member of his family gets ill. I’ll bet that we agree that over the last 40 years the cost of higher education has skyrocketed. Many people starting out in their careers are saddled with enormous debt. It was not always that way.
When I attended West Chester State College from 1964 to 1968, I paid $250 a year for tuition. In 2017 dollars that is the equivalent of $1,952.50 a year for tuition. Today’s students at West Chester University pay $9720 just for tuition. Back in my day, the state paid more of the cost for education, we have gotten away from our commitment to affordable higher education, and today’s young people are the ones who suffer. Do Trump voters agree that the cost of higher education is prohibitive, and that the state should subsidize it?
From 1967 until 2015 the median income for the top 5 % has risen from $35,000 to $350,000 this tenfold increase becomes only a twofold increase when you adjust for inflation. The problem is that the bottom 40% has had no increase in median income from 1967 until 2015 when you adjust for inflation. Do Trump voters agree that when we get “growth” in the economy it is not felt at the bottom? Do Trump voters agree that ordinary Americans need a raise? Do Trump voters agree that we must raise the federal minimum wage?
I personally believe that the most important problem facing America today is that we have depleted our middle class. We must take steps to restore it. Let’s give President Trump a chance to make healthcare and college more affordable. Let’s give him a chance to make sure that Americans get a raise by raising the minimum wage. And if we see no change in the plight of ordinary Americans, let’s hold him and the mainstream Republicans accountable.
I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone at the Chester County Prison, from the Management to the Correctional Officers, for their dedication and service to our community. As a past Chester County Correctional Officer and Counselor, I can personally attest to the challenges, both physically and mentally, our Officers and Staff have to face day in and day out with little recognition or thanks. They not only deserve thanks, they deserve to be fairly compensated for doing a difficult and often dangerous job. Unfortunately, Chester County politics has prevented our Correctional Officers from getting the compensation they deserve. The starting salary of a Chester County Correctional Officer is just $34,000. This salary is significantly below a Chester County living wage in addition to being substantially lower than what Correctional Officers, all represented by the Teamsters, earn in neighboring counties. In York County, the starting salary for a Correctional Officer is $46,800 – Dauphin $43,400, Berks $39,900 and Perry $38,100. All of these counties have significantly lower cost of living and median household incomes than Chester County. In fact, Chester County is the wealthiest county in the Commonwealth and it just celebrated ten years of a AAA bond rating. Yet, for years our Officers have been paid less. With these opportunities so nearby it is no wonder that we have a continual turnover and shortage of well trained and experienced Officers who leave our County to find a decent living wage. Our Officers put their safety on the line every day dealing with the most difficult and dangerous people who reside or have passed through our community. They have families, and bills, and dreams of a bright future for their children just like all of us. To compensate our Correctional Officers so stingily is embarrassing and inexcusable. In 2015, the Montgomery County Correctional Officers chose representation through Teamsters Local 384. The outcome was an increase in pay of 16%-25%, a strong relationship with prison administration and continued fiscal responsibility by Montgomery County. With this in mind I support our Correctional Officers fight for a decent living wage they deserve by choosing union representation. Sincerely, Chris Pielli, Esq.
I first want wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving and thank everyone, Democrat, Republican and Independent alike for their support. I am honored and humbled to have this opportunity to serve all of you and look forward to earning your trust. The election is over and now it is time to get to work! I will not be sworn into office until January 4, 2016. Because of this I am unable to vote on the proposed 2016 West Goshen Twp. budget but I, like all West Goshen residents, have the right to voice our concerns and suggestions into this decision making process. As such, I urge you to carefully read the proposed budget as soon as possible. The Board of Supervisors plans to vote on this budget December 9, 2015 at a meeting that will start 6 p.m., one hour earlier than usual to accommodate any public comment. You can find a general breakdown of the proposed expenditures posted on line at the West Goshen Twp. website. However, this posting does not give you the overall picture as to the continuing economic trend the Township has been taking over the past seven years.
In a nut shell, the Township’s overall revenue base is not keeping pace with yearly cost increases. Without the, resale of the Jefferson Apartment complex (2013), significant EIT one-time stock option earnings (2013), resale of Goshen Commons (2014), resale of Halstead Apartments (2015), and the one-time contribution from Traditions (2016), the Township’s total General Fund revenue has had little growth and is not even keeping pace with the rate of inflation.
This budget contains a proposed $1,792,939 deficit to the general fund which is the calculated final dollar amount after figuring in a $207, 061 surplus and a proposed $2,000,000 transfer from the general fund to the Capital Reserve for future capital projects. I believe that these future projects should be enumerated and explained in greater detail to the public so we can better understand and decide the necessity of this significant transfer.
This budget also proposes a 7.43% Salary and Wage increase over the 2015 budget. In fairness, there are several factors that go into this increase after a recent salary comparison study was initiated by the Township. However, I believe that when we decrease our General Fund significantly we must look with extreme scrutiny on any proposed wage increases.
I have spoken with several Township Supervisors about this budget. They were kind enough to answer my questions and listen to my concerns and suggestions. I want to thank them for their hard work and effort putting together this proposal and commend them for not raising our Real Estate taxes and Sewer & Trash fees. Although I may not agree with several provisions in this proposed budget I realize it is always easier to pick something apart than to create it. With that said, I give great deference to the current Supervisors efforts and since I have already expressed my opinions to them as a future colleague, I will not rehash them at the December 9th meeting. However, I strongly believe going forward we must focus our energy and work together to reverse this dangerous trend of continual yearly cost increases that outpace our overall revenue base. We owe it to our children and future West Goshen residents to make this a priority. Thanks again and Happy Thanksgiving!
By Joe Sestak
The nuclear accord that major powers reached with Iran last week is a promising first step toward peacefully and permanently stopping the Iranians from attaining nuclear weapons.
It is a result of painstaking diplomacy, made possible by principled American leadership and endorsed by the international community, and it provides a chance to contain Iran’s nuclear ambitions while avoiding another costly war in the region.
Congress now must give this agreement a serious look. It should support the agreement – and then work with the administration to ensure that Iran lives up to its promise and, if not, is held to account.
Why should the American people give this accord a chance?
For once, we have an agreement – signed by the Iranians – that limits Iran’s ability to research and develop nuclear weapons, reduces its nuclear stockpile by 98 percent, and mandates changes to its nuclear facilities.
Specifically, Iran will substantially reduce the number of centrifuges that can enrich uranium to a level below what is needed to produce bomb-grade materials. Tehran will also dilute its existing enriched uranium from a concentration level of 20 percent to below 4 percent (90 percent is considered bomb grade).
Today, Iran could produce nuclear-bomb-grade material in about 30 days. Under these new, strict limits, even if Iran were to pursue its nuclear ambition, it would not be able to achieve it for a year or more.
Iran will also stop all uranium enrichment activities at Fordow – a deep-underground facility that we cannot destroy nor have been able to inspect, until now – and use only one nuclear plant, Natanz, for civilian purposes. There, centrifuges will be limited to low-grade enrichment, using only first-generation centrifuges constructed in the 1970s.
At the sole Iranian heavy-water reactor, at Arak, all ability to produce bomb-grade plutonium will be eliminated, and nuclear research and development programs will be curtailed.
Perhaps most significantly, this deal allows the international community to impose meaningful inspections to confirm that Iran will not cheat – what President Ronald Reagan called “trust, but verify.”
A number of respected nuclear experts, including prominent inspectors with decades of experience with challenging regimes like Iraq and North Korea, are impressed with the inspection safeguards in this agreement.
First, the number of inspectors dedicated to Iran at the International Atomic Energy Agency will increase from 50 to about 150.
Second, Iran will allow international inspectors to install the latest, most advanced technology to conduct surveillance and monitor Iranian facilities. Satellite imagery, infrared and radar systems, and on-the-ground samples and lab tests will all be part of the new detection process.
Third, and perhaps most significant, Iran agreed to let inspectors visit sites and facilities that have been suspected of harboring secret nuclear weapons programs in the past. This will give us a more complete picture of Iran’s activities and its seriousness in complying – then and now.
If Iran violates the terms, the agreement was crafted to allow for sanctions to be reinstated. If there is a new location found to have suspicious activity, there is a timely process in which Western powers – not Iran – dominate the approval process for access to suspicious sites.
There are those who have already stated that they will not support this deal. They have the right to challenge the administration. But as leaders, they also have a duty to present an alternative – and, in this case, what is the recourse?
Some suggest we cease negotiations and apply more sanctions to “cripple their economy.” That argument fails to take into account that the Iranians were driven to take this deal only because China, Russia, and other nations have worked with us to enforce a comprehensive, international system of sanctions.
If our negotiations ceased and Russia or China walked away, the global consensus would fracture. Are we then willing to pursue war to try to achieve what this agreement does in halting Iran’s nuclear program – keeping in mind that U.S. military strikes can delay a nuclear weapon for only a few years?
And if not war, are we prepared to see a nuclear arms race as Saudi Arabia works to procure a nuclear weapon? What is the endgame of those who oppose the deal?
This is a dangerous, challenging world, and building an effective national security strategy is hard. It requires patience, thoughtful diplomacy, and accountability on when to use force.
So as we assess this deal, let’s focus on the delicate balance that the accord brings.
If we pursue this, we will improve our security by at least a year, if not at least 15, with renewed sanctions and military action always available if cheating occurs. If not, we will likely see a regional nuclear arms race or perhaps a war with no exit strategy.
Our leaders must make the responsible decision.
Joe Sestak, a former Navy admiral and congressman, is running for U.S. Senate from Pennsylvania. firstname.lastname@example.org
I checked a Gallup poll and a poll from the Pew Research center and both of them indicated that Americans trust in government is at or near all time lows. I don’t believe that shocks any American with a pulse. But I do believe that it is very important to explore the reasons why this is true.
The question asked in the Gallup Poll was merely “How much of the time do you think you can trust the government in Washington to do what is right?” Wow! That is a simple elegant question. Will your government do what is right?
All people have a sense of right and wrong. This is a part of being human. Yet nearly all Americans say that the government is not doing what is right. Why would this be true? Why would lawmakers work so hard to get elected to Congress, and then when they get there make wrong decisions?
Most Americans would probably answer that this is a direct result of partisanship in Washington. The belief is that it isn’t the party I favor that is causing the problem, it is the other guy.
In my belief there is something more sinister and even more pervasive than partisanship which causes our Congress to not do the right thing. Our Congress is not doing what is right for you, but what they do is right for some people. These people have come to be called the “donor” class.
Right now I believe that we have the best government money can buy, but I want more than anything to have the best government that informed voters with eyes wide open can elect. In my view we have become a nation ruled by a few at the top. This is called a plutocracy. We can, if we want, restore our democracy.
What must we do to restore our democracy?
We must view all of our politicians and their proposals through a new lens. Do you want to privatize Social Security in order to help me or the “donor” class? Do you want to invade Iran for me or for the “donor” class? Do you want to repeal Obamacare for me or for the “donor” class?
When our eyes are wide open and our focus is clear, we will restore democracy and trust in government.
There is a strong and pervasive myth that Republicans will lower taxes on the working class, and cut government spending. Let’s examine the true history.
Ronald Reagan ran on a platform that included lowering your taxes. However the way that taxes were “lowered” ended up costing the middle class more money. In the end, most Americans were paying more in federal taxes in 1988 than they were in 1980. The wealthy were definitely paying a lot less.
Reagan could never be called a “Tax and Spend” liberal. Reagan was a “Don’t Tax the Rich but Spend Anyway” conservative. Reagan increased spending so much that by the end of his Presidency he had tripled the national debt.
George H W Bush was a different breed from Ronald Reagan. The first President Bush actually believed that the national debt was a problem. Even though he had promised no new taxes the top marginal rate was raised from 28% to 31% largely because he was concerned about the debt. In my view, this was a fiscally responsible act, but Republicans slammed him for it.
Somewhere in the Reagan-Bush era I began to realize that Republicans were carrying water for the super wealthy and the big corporations. This realization has been borne out for me by all of their actions ever since. Sometimes they put a mask over it, but it is still there. The Republicans’ raison d’etre is to carry water for the super wealthy and the big corporations.
The Clinton era brought a change to our fiscal woes. Clinton raised taxes on the wealthy. The top marginal rate was raised from 31% to 39.6%. This did not sit well with the vast majority of the super wealthy, and the Republicans were more than willing to be their voice. Republicans said this would cause a recession or a depression. People would lose jobs and all sorts of bad things would come about with a tax increase on the top rate.
But, under Clinton, the top rate was raised without one Republican vote. The recession never happened nor any of the other dire consequences predicted by Republicans. President, Clinton reduced federal spending. He also made a reduction in the debt. The deficit was eliminated and replaced with a surplus.
Things were looking good in 2001 when George W Bush took office, but Bush took the mantle of “Don’t Tax the Rich but Spend Anyway” to a whole new level. Bush decided that the surpluses were a problem and decided to get rid of them in short order. He reduced taxes predominantly on the wealthy. He conducted two wars which were not budgeted for. He proposed Medicare Part D, but neglected to pay for it.
By the end of his Presidency, Bush #2 made sure that the super rich had tax reductions and the American people had 3.7 trillion dollars added to their debt.
Then, what a mess was inherited by President Obama. We were in two wars which demanded a lot of spending. We had Medicare Part D which demanded spending. People lost jobs and sought unemployment benefits, more spending. We had a deep Recession which drastically reduced revenues which came into the government. We also needed a stimulus to pull us out of the Recession. (By the way, the stimulus worked we are a much stronger economy now than the countries that chose austerity) We should not be surprised then that in Obama’s first year in office the deficit peaked at 1.4 trillion
Obama found himself in a big hole. He stopped digging and began to fill it in. Every year since 2009, Obama reduced the deficit. The deficit fell from 1,413 billion in 2009 to 483 billion in 2014. Yes, Republicans, I know you will say that Obama added more to the debt than anyone. If you make this argument then you fail to see that when you inherit massive deficits and you are working tremendously hard to reduce them, you still add to the debt.
In fact, since 1974, the only years that the national debt has gone down have been in the administrations of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.
What this teaches us is that in recent times the Democratic Party has been more fiscally responsible than the Republican Party.
In 2016, we need to look for a President and Congress who are willing to make our tax structure more fair and progressive. Is it fair that a policeman pays a higher percentage of his income in taxes than a person who earns his money from investments, like Warren Buffet and Mitt Romney. The Republicans don’t want to make the tax structure more progressive, because they are carrying water for the super wealthy and the corporations.
We need to look for a President who is willing to cut government spending. The Presidents who cut spending have been the Democrats. The Republicans talk about it but they don’t do it.
So when you go to vote, remember which party is carrying water for the super wealthy and the corporations, and which party is carrying water for you.